UNDERSTANDING IF YOU HAVE ALLERGIC RHINITIS (HAYFEVER) OR IF IT IS A COLD
‘Hayfever’ (also called allergic rhinitis) is caused by normally harmless and naturally occurring substances that trigger allergic reactions in your body. These substances are called ‘allergens’ and different allergens affect different people. The most common signs and symptoms of hayfever include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, itchy nose, watery eyes and nasal congestion. Hayfever can be a lot like having a common cold, but the effects (the ‘symptoms’) of hayfever can last for weeks or even months, rather than just days.
WHAT CAUSES NASAL CONGESTION IN ALLERGIC RHINITIS (HAYFEVER)?
In allergic rhinitis, the factors that trigger a runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy nose, or sneezing varies from person to person. In some cases, symptoms are caused by seasonal outdoor allergens, including pollen from trees or grass, during a particular season. In other cases, they can be triggered by indoor allergens, such as mould, dust mites and animal dander.
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT HAYFEVER?
When you know which allergen is triggering your symptoms, it is best to avoid contact with that trigger. Here are some tips you might find helpful:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Avoid touching or rubbing your nose with your hands
- Wash bedding frequently using hot water (at least 60° C).
- Use dust mite proof pillowcases, quilt covers, mattress covers and bed covers.
- Keep windows closed during the peak pollen and mould season